Thursday, December 10, 2020

Review: My Monsterpiece by Amalia Hoffman

by Amalia Hoffman
Yeehoo Press
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 3 to 7

MARCH 2nd, 2021!!!

 A celebration of imagination, creativity, acceptance, and art that will delight children of all ages.

A kid-artist wants to frighten family members and friends by creating the scariest, meanest, most terrible monsters ever. A green tongue, pointy horns, sharp teeth, and terrible claws are sure to make everyone scream!

But what happens when rather than running away in a fright, they smile, laugh, and absolutely LOVE the monsters?

Join the frustrated artist on this hilariously hair-raising journey where the scary and not scary meet and mingle, embarking on an adventure that reveals that overcoming fear and prejudice can lead to a wonderful friendship.

With hand-drawn cutout illustrations, incorporating materials that kids actually use while making art, and a perfect mix of shivers and giggles, this bold, energetic picture book celebrates the power of a child’s imagination and appeals to a child’s love of the scary and the fun. This unique monster story touches on stereotyping and the fear of what is different in a way that young readers will relate to. It demonstrates that it’s possible to overcome bias, and helps children understand that acceptance and diversity make our lives far more colorful and enjoyable.


I'm always on the look out for kid books, which allow the imagination to take flight as only a child's can...and when they have vibrant illustrations, tons of fun, and manage to pack in a good message, too, it's a winner to me. This book accomplishes all of that.

Every part of this book is original. First, the text is written as if a child is talking to the listener (or themselves), and it reminded me so much how the kids I know speak and think, that I couldn't help but smirk and smile several times. The desire of this kid to please and reach his goal is understandable...even if his goal is to create the scariest monster ever. It's an awesome goal. And the child's frustration as things never go as it expects hits such familiar territory that it's impossible not to slide into this child's shoes. Parents, guardians, teachers and kids will identify with these situations because it is exactly how life runs.

Second, the illustrations are a creation all in themselves. The author has let the child in her free and not only creates the most unique, amazing, and imagination packed monsters possible, but uses all sorts of means and materials to create them. Not only are they colorful and bold, but they portray exactly the way a child goes at it. I simply love these monsters and feel the urge to create my own after reading this. So, I can only assume young readers will head off to grab their creative materials after reading this. 

Thirdly....Grrrr! Sorry, I had to pack this in somehow because I found it wonderful how the child grumbled and grred after each failed scare. And the father's reaction definitely had me laughing.

Thirdly, the message is there, but it flows more as a fact of life more than a real, flat-out message. Creation is lovely and works from all sides. While sticking with monsters, this book takes a big twist about halfway through, which is silly and yet, makes the listener think until it ends with a meaningful and warming message of friendship.

So, yep. This is a book I can really recommend. And now, I'm fighting the urge to cover my bedroom walls with silly, exciting and probably not-so-scary monsters.

And here she is...

Amalia Hoffman is an award-winning author and illustrator of many children's books, including ALL COLORS, one of 2019 School Library Journal Best Board Books and DREIDEL DAY, a PJ Library Book. She is the author of THE BRAVE CYCLIST: THE TRUE STORY OF A HOLOCAUST HERO, a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection Book.
Amalia frequently tells her stories in schools, libraries and bookstores with puppets and props. She lives in Larchmont, New York.

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